History of Asbestos in Clothing Fabrics

Asbestos has been used for making clothes for millennia. In fact, its use in cloth goes as far as 2500 B.C. However, commercial production in the US did not begin until the late 19th century. John Manville I was one of the first companies to make asbestos textiles. It began manufacturing clothes in 1884.

It quickly gained due to its property to be spun in a manner similar to cotton and the demand soared. This was the reason that several textile mills that were initially built to process cotton were converted into asbestos textile mills in the early part of the 20th century.

Various grades of asbestos fibers were mixed in a blender as per the specifications for a given product. These fibers were then combed together in to mat and several mats were pressed together to create a lap. The lap was used to create thin ribbons known as roving and during this stage, rayon and cotton fibers were also added in the mix. The roving is twisted and spun to create yarn. Yarn could then be used for making threads and thread was used for creating fabric for rope, tape, wicking and garments.


As far as asbestos production in US is concerned, the Carolinas were instrumental. Both the states had their deposits of naturally occurring asbestos and many asbestos textile mills were quickly established in place of existing cotton. Southern Asbestos Manufacturing Company was one of the textile plants to be located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The company bought and converted another cotton mill into an asbestos mill in 1920 for production of cloth and yarn. The profits generated by the company more than tripled in just two years.

In a day where asbestos is seen as an extremely dangerous substance, where anybody who found asbestos would call for immediate perth asbestos removals in order to eliminate the risk from the home.

Due to the discovery of the toxic nature of asbestos, its use in manufacture of garments and cloth has declined. However, a variety of heat-resistant materials are used in place of asbestos for manufacture of protective garments and textiles.

When protective clothing and textile clothing made from espresso become warm, the fibers woven into the fabric get released into the air. In fact, some asbestos cloth can be 100% asbestos. The percentage varies when used in garments. Garments that are meant to be worn in extreme temperatures usually have a higher percentage of asbestos. While the garments are not friable, they may become friable when damaged. In its raw form, asbestos cloth is considered friable, especially when it was used for thermal insulation.

Due to its property to save from burns and extreme temperatures, the workers working with molten materials in steel plants, glassworks and foundries wore these garments. The garments worn by these workers often consisted of aprons, leggings, gloves and coats. Employees working with furnaces and standing along the path of flowing molten metal wore coats and leggings made of asbestos.

An analysis of the quality of air in these factories and plants found that fibers were regularly emitted from asbestos clothing during the course of the day and the workers working in these plans were exposed to these fibers. The fiber count was higher in case the clothing was in bad condition.

Clothing can also become worn or cut by sharp metal during regular use in these plants and that led to release of extra fibers. Jackets and gloves made from asbestos were also used by firefighters to protect them from extreme heat and fire. These uniforms often get exposed to wear and tear as well as extreme temperatures.

However, textile mill workers were the worst sufferers in terms of occupation hazard. These workers suffered high levels of lung disease due to the presence of asbestos fibers in the air as a result of the milling and spinning in the factory that created extremely dusty conditions In fact, a textile mill worker is known to file one of the first health claims for asbestosis in the year 1927.

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